Tuna Tar-Tart

I suck at everything. Probably more than you do. I enjoy experimenting with cheese and playing with glue sticks. You might know me from that other joint, LiveJournal.

Apr 162021
 

I’m really sad as I sit here writing this post about the wonderfully warm & sunny weekend, because it’s like 45 degrees and drizzly out. Womp womp.

But the weekend was so wonderfully warm and sunny! Henry and I went out to some flower places on Saturday (previously mentioned) and bought some flowers and pots. As we were checking out, one of the plant ladies said to us in a very school marm-y tone, “You know these can’t be planted yet right?” I was slowly shaking my head no as Henry was emphatically insisting in his Confident White Man voice that of course he knows this, he was in the SERVICE, for shit’s sake! He knows everything!

Regardless of what Henry allegedly knows, I appreciate going to these types of plant places where the employees actually know what they’re doing and will teach you shit. I also appreciate that the pandemic made me care about my yard. In the billion years I have lived here, last year was the first year we ever planted anything and I’m excited to make it look even nicer this year now that we already have a base to piggyback off of! Apparently, Blake and Haley are taking initiative with their side this year (last year, we just took it upon ourselves to plant flowers on their half too) so now I’ve turned it into a secret, one-sided competition, just like with the cat Instagrams.

We went to this one roadside farm stand thing and the guy kept pressuring us to try an Amish fry pie like I really needed “pressured” into that, the hardest part was choosing which filling I wanted! Ultimately, we went with cherry and as we were walking out the dude was like YOU’LL BE BACK FOR MORE FRY PIES and I mean, it was pretty good but I’d rather drive to a real Amish land and get a fry pie straight from the source, not off the side of Rt. 51. That’s just me though.

I don’t remember what else we did on Saturday. Probably fuck all. I think I went for lots of walks and annoyed the squirrels.

The next day, we went to a different plant place but this time Chooch came with us which was a rarity because he never likes going out with us anymore, but he wanted to get his own plants so whatever.

My dad inexplicably has one of these in his backyard!

We had a lot of fun picking out flowers that can’t  be planted in the ground yet because of FROST (I’m learning so much) and then we went inside their market thing where Chooch and Henry both wanted cookies from the bakery so they had to ding the bell on  the counter even  though the lady was right there in the next room doing shit with pies (she was like, glazing them or something, IDK!). The broad was not very happy and sighed, “I’ll be right there” and then when she finally came out, she just stood there with this annoyed look that said “well??” so Chooch picked a wrapped cookie off the top of the counter and said, “I’ll have this” and I thought she was going to shoot through the ceiling.

“You didn’t have to ring—” she started to say, but then Henry interrupted her to tell her that he also wanted a cookie, but his was actually in the case so YES WE DID HAVE TO RING THE BELL, YOU SNOTTY PIE BITCH.

That was the only negative part of the whole day. We had great experiences in all the other parts of the store, like when Chooch and I went upstairs and he discovered a cabinet full of handmade soy candles and if you know my son, you know he is OBSESSED with candles. Now his bedroom smells like a delicious pecan pie, baked by the AMISH and not that SNOTTY PIE BITCH.

When Henry was paying, he said GO WAIT AT THE CAR!! but instead Chooch and I made ourselves comfy on the two adirondack chairs out front. I’m sure we looked like supreme douches.

Then we came home and Henry potted some of the flowers under Buddy’s supervision.

“OK plant the yella ones next, sir, I gots some nuts ta bury innit.”

Henry’s not afraid of no frost! There’s no telling him when to plant flowers! (That’s why they’re currently covered with plastic since it’s going to go below 40 degrees tonight, good one, HortiHenry.)

All of the Buddys and Mr. Gray Guys are loving the new….digs.

Apr 142021
 

You guys, SHINee is back again and I am IN LAHHHHHHHHHVE with this video and song and the outfits and the dancing and Onew’s sweet smile Taemin’s lavender hair and Key’s Prince-esque purple sequined get-up and Minho’s signature swagger, and and and….how is SHINee so consistently this good?? I shared it with my friend Nate yesterday at work and he said he reminded him of the underwater levels of Super Mario Bros which made me like it even more and then he made the fatal mistake of asking me what it means that this song is from the 7th full length repackage album which sent me spiraling into the abyss of Kpop facts and I’m sure he was sorry he asked but he *did* say that he was going to listen to more SHINee so I think it’s safe to say that we will be calling Nate a Shawol any day now.

This new song is also on the repackage and I really think it’s my new current favorite SHINee song – that Onew falsetto!!!! I have said before that if it wasn’t for Taemin, Onew would be my SHINee bias. His voice is not talked about enough:

Area brings me to tears. This is so signature SHINee, my eyes are actually burning right now help me. I keep saying “Alexa, play it again” like I’m in a trance.

In semi-related news, Henry and I went to get a new car last night. We have been a one-car family for, well, forever because pretty much right after Henry moved in with me a million years ago, he totaled his car and then we just always had one which actually hasn’t been too much of an inconvenience since we were always either working opposite shifts and then I was able to easily commute to my current job, plus we live in an area where most things are super accessible by walking. However, our current car is nearly paid off so we felt it was time to add a second and the next logical step to my transitioning lifestyle was clearly to go Korean.

So we chose a Hyundai Kona!

Henry and I had to go to the dealer last night to make it official, and before we left, I mused in half-seriousness that I needed to choose a purse that made me look more “mature” and Henry literally scoffed at this. I guess he didn’t notice what I had chosen, because when we got out of the car at the dealership, he said, “Really? That’s the one you went with?” I mean, considering my options are anything from souvenir theme park popcorn carriers, sparkly animal purses from the little girls section at Target, and bloody butcher knives, I think this was a pretty good choice!

It was between this one and my NCT127 Cherry Bomb purse that has the see-through window to show off my NCT enamel pins. Who has time for bland grown-up purses?!

Anyway, we already had the car picked out and did the financial stuff online beforehand, so it was mostly just a lot of sitting around and waiting for the finance guy to be ready. I was more than happy to let Henry do all the talking to the sales guy up until then because B-O-R-I-N-G but I got irrationally up in arms when it came to the point where the dude was setting up our Bluelink and needed a pin. He asked HENRY even though it had been stated numerous times that I was going to be the primary owner/driver of this car. I shot Henry an icy look that he completely failed to read, and he proceeded to give the guy the last 4 digits of his phone number to use. I sat there with my mouth hanging open and glared at Henry.

“What?” he mouthed to me.

The sales guy turned to his computer to start adding the info and I LITERALLY PUT MY FINGER IN THE AIR, leaned in, and said, “Actually? Can we use *-*-*-* instead?” The sales guy was like, “Oh, certainly!” while Henry groaned and said, “We could have changed it ourselves later!”

“Yeah but I want it to be this RIGHT NOW,” I sat back smugly. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Sometimes we don’t always the have big mallet on hand when smashing the patriarchy, and have to make due with taking out small gouges with a grapefruit spoon instead.

What does that even mean. I didn’t sleep well and have a headache.

Henry said he was bracing himself for me to blurt out my Ode to Korea when the finance guy asked us what made us choose a Hyundai, but I was too tired. We had been there for like 3 hours by then and I just wanted to stop scribbling my name everywhere (usually I LOVE TO WRITE MY NAME) and go home where Chooch was pouting because of course I texted him while we were there and told him we wee actually unable to get a new car after all because having a kid mean fucking with their emotions constantly (oh no, is someone going to call CPS on me again??).

Anyway, after being the last fucking people left in that place, we drove home with two cars. And because this happened smack in the middle of a new SHINee comeback, I decided to name my new car Jinki, after Onew. (Onew is his stage name, Lee Jin-ki is his actual Korean name.)

We are tentatively going to venture back into the world of road trips here soon, once we’re fully vaccinated so we will definitely be getting a lot of use out of Jinki! Also, I haven’t had a white car since my very first car – my beloved Eagle Talon, Cassie Lane!

I gotta get some SHINee accoutrements for this pretty boy.

Awkward photos. HNC was outside and I wanted to hurry up before the obliggy “YINZ GIT A NEW CAR?” convo happened.

I’m fully prepared for our Cruze to shit the bed now because isn’t that how life always works?

Apr 122021
 

Hello. I read a bunch of books in March. These are the books that I read.

  1. Super Fake Love Song – David Yoon

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I love David Yoon. I read his book “Frankly In Love” last year and adored it so I could not WAIT to pick this one up. Classic “boy likes girl, girl thinks boy is someone he’s not, hilarity and cringe ensues” young adult romp but David Yoon writes characters that feel so real, it makes the trope feel fresh.

2. If I Disappear – Eliza Jane Brazier

If I Disappear

I was really excited for this. I mean, get a load of that cover! And the plot? A true crime podcast host goes off the grid and her number one fan GOES TO HER HOMETOWN to search for her? Unfortunately, it just didn’t do it for me. I did not feel thrilled, nor did I care about a single character. It just lacked tension. However, it’s being developed into a series, I guess, so maybe I will check that out because like I said, the synopsis seemed very compelling to me.

3. Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

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OK, speaking of books-to-TV, this one was recently made into a Netflix show and I am super glad I read it before watching it because this was a motherfucking TRIP. I mean, you have got to REALLY suspend disbelief with this one or else you will probably just hate it. But I was really into this and by the time I got to to the end, I was laughing out loud and screaming WHAT? Not because it was hilarious, but because it was a WILD RIDE. I was thoroughly entertained!

I did start to watch the series but it was so similar to the book that it felt kind of like I was just wasting my time since I had *just* finished reading the book. Although, I might just go ahead and skip to the last episode because I’m interested in how that was lifted from page to screen.

Anyway, if you like super cray domestic thrillers, try this one lol.

4. Smash It! – Francina Simone

Smash It! (Smash It! #1)

A fresh take on the classic “bucket list” trope, written by a well-loved Booktuber. I needed a fun and upbeat audiobook to listen to one weekend when I was going out for a walk and this book did a fine job of distracting and entertaining me but I have to tell you a secret. The day I started listening to this book, it was a windy but super sunny and beautiful Saturday. Henry and Chooch had left to go pick up takeout from a new African restaurant and I was like I AM GOING TO GO FOR A NICE LONG WALK AND ENJOY THIS EARLY SPRING WEATHER, BITCHES so I left the house for a good hour at least and when I came back, THE FRONT DOOR WAS WIDE OPEN. And we do not  have a screen door anymore so if the front door is open, WELCOME TO MY HOUSE, STEP RIGHT UP, COME ON IN! I have no idea how long the door was open, but after I tentatively stepped in and yelled HELLO IS ANYONE HERE, the cats came out of the basement looking scared as hell, like, “OMG LADY A GHOSTESS BLEW OPEN THE DOOR WHILE YOU WERE GONE AND WE HERE ALL ALONE WITH IT AHHHHH!!!”

Of course this happened because I do not have a house key (Henry had a new one made for me and I lost it and then I found it and then I lost it again lol) so when I leave the house I have to leave it unlocked and apparently I also did not shut the door all the way either so, that’s how that happened.  Anyway, I 100% did not tell Henry about this but then the secret was causing me physical pain so one night last week when we were on a walk, I blurted out, “SOMETHING HAPPENED.” And then I told him and he just murmured, “ohmygod.”

So now I will always associate this book with that. Lol. I’m so good at book reviews!

5. The Inheritance Games – Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

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When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with this book called The Westing Game, which was about a millionaire who died and named a bunch of seemingly unrelated people in his Will, but they had to play a game in order to win the inheritance. LOVED that book and to this day, I still have an urge to swish with Bourbon when I have a toothache. This was a super valuable lesson I learned at the ripe age of like….8.

Anyway! This book is similar: super fucking rich guy kicks it and leaves everything to some rando teenager but of course there is a game involved and four super hot grandsons to work with. Not as good as The Westing Game by any means, but this was FUN and basically just what I  needed at that time – a nice, fun read that wasn’t going to add additional stress or heartache to my life. Evidently, this is going to be a series so I will definitely pick up book two when it comes out!

6. & 7. Heartstopper, Vol. 1 & 2

I’m not an avid graphic novel reader but I am always hearing about how great this series is, and having read Oseman’s “Radio Silence,” I’m already moderately familiar with her.  So finally, I requested Volume 1 from the library and proceeded to accidentally devour it in one sitting. THE HYPE IS REAL. If something like this was available when I was in high school, wow. I would have loved it even more but even as a crusty old broad, I was basically swooning as I flipped my way through this. What an adorable, realistic exploration of sexual identity and love for teenagers.

Charlie and Nick for-fucking-ever. I can’t wait to read Volumes  3 and 4!

Oh!! And this is also being turned into a series!! I CAN’T WAIT.

8. The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary

The book cover and concept of The Lost Apothecary are fabulous, but the actual book was…it just wasn’t it for me. Basically we have some broad who catches her husband in an affair right before they’re set to take a 10-year anniversary trip to London so she’s like “fuck it, I’m going by myself” and while there she goes “mudding” in the Thames and unearths a super old apothecary jar and then sets off to find out more about it while rediscovering her dreams that were “lost” after she was married.

Then we travel back in time to some Victorian era where we follow the broad who runs the secret apothecary that exists for women to kill the shitty men in their lives. I really wanted more from this book. The characters were so flat to me and the chapters where we went back in time were so boring where I expected them to be the juicy parts, you know?

I just didn’t care for this book, sadly. But maybe you will!


OK, that’s the first half. I think I read about 6 more book in March so I will recap those ones later this week because right now my stomach hurts and I want to watch some coaster videos before hopefully being well enough to exercise and probably watching the new SHINee video 18 more times, wow, now you know my Monday evening agenda.

Apr 112021
 

I have always been a super emotional person, for example, if I have no choice but to return a cart to an empty stall, I will dwell on it for hours, feeling SO BAD that I left an INANIMATE OBJECT alone in a parking lot, never mind the fact that other carts probably joined it before I even pulled out of the parking lot. I’m just super sensitive I guess – but then I can also be super callous and uncaring toward people so welcome to my contrary universe.

However, I find that it’s definitely getting worse as I age. I woke up Thursday morning to what I anticipated to just be a normal day. I was working late shift, so I had some time in the morning to take a walk, read a little, watch some coaster videos on YouTube, etc. While I was doing the latter, I heard my neighbor Ruth call out, “Yinz guys cutting down that tree?” and I looked outside to see this piece of shit truck blocking the entrance to the church lot across from my house:

And oh yes, they were preparing to cut down that big, glorious, grandfatherly tree you see pictured to the right. This is a tree that I have spent the last 20 years of my life admiring in the spring, summer and fall (and ignoring in the winter, lol). I have taken pictures of Chooch next to that tree. Hid from Henry behind that tree. JUST THAT MORNING I WAS WAVING TO BUDDY THE SQUIRREL AS HE SAT IN THAT TREE!!!

Something in me snapped and I just lost my shit. I tried calling Henry multiple times but he didn’t answer so I proceeded to text him: 911!!! When he finally called me back in a panic, I straight up wailed, “HENRY THEY’RE CUTTING DOWN THAT TREEEEEEEEEE” and then I started SOBBING and couldn’t finish because my throat was doing that EMOTIONAL WOMAN BREAKING DOWN constricting thing.

I eventually managed to gurgle out, “Gary and Sons, whoever the fuck THEY are!” when Henry asked me WHO WAS CUTTING DOWN THE TREE.

Then he of course started to White Knight them, must be hard carrying around the weight of all that CHAIN MAIL constantly, isn’t it Henry?

“Well, they’re only doing what they were paid to do. It’s probably rotted,” he said in the calm tone of a white man who does not get bothered by anything because the world is his motherfucking oyster.

“NO YOU’RE ROTTED!” I cried and hung up.

Then I started pacing wildly. What could I do?! There must be something! Run across the street and throw my arms around the trunk in defense?! The one guy had a chainsaw and I did not want to get close to that (haunted house flashbacks) so instead I kept storming out onto the front porch and shooting them my patented DISGUSTED SCOWLS while flipping them off. But all the while, I could NOT stop crying. I’m not sure if this was something bigger, maybe I was subconsciously holding onto to some shit that needed purged by way of my tear ducts, or maybe I just really am the president of the Tree Huggers Club, but I was a legit MESS that morning. As they were packing up their forestry murder kit, I went out to get the mail and said loudly, “OH YEAH THAT LOOKS REAL FRUCKING GREAT. ASSHOLES!” They all turned and looked at me and I glared at them but they sadly didn’t burst into flames so I guess I am losing my touch.

I had a video meeting that afternoon at work and I was STILL doing the post-cry sniffle-shudder right before it started but luckily I am ace at smiling my way through this shit but you know how after you cry really hard for an extended amount of time, your face feels so heavy and swollen? Yeah, I had that, bigly. My head was THROBBING through the whole meeting and when it was my turn to talk, I very nearly almost blurted out SOME ASSHOLES CUT DOWN A TREE TODAY AND I’M SAD but I held it together and instead just talked about my squirrel obsession – was that really the less crazy route though? Maybe.

We drove past GARY AND SONS (I almost left them a terrible Google review but I had no energy left after all that crying) which is apparently run out of a house on the other side of the church WHERE THEY JUST FELLED THE TREE, and OF FUCKING COURSE they have a giant Trump 2020 flag proudly flying at full staff in their junk yard.

Fuck you, Gary, and your shit-eating sons, too.

Side note: this is the same tree that was damaged in a storm last summer, which led to Henry and HNC getting to be traffic-directing HEROES.

In addition to this TRULY TERRIBLE TALE OF TREESON (??), I was also angry because Henry got his first vaccination on Tuesday. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled that we are now both halfway to some semblance of immunity & normalcy, but his next shot is scheduled for two days BEFORE MY NEXT ONE, even though I got my first one the week before!! I was SO ANGRY about this that I sent an angry text to my work group chat – three of got the first shot at the same vaccination site, a day apart. Amber replied and said that for some reason, we were all scheduled to come back in 4 weeks instead of 3, even though we all got the Pfizer one. Then Nate said that his wife was also curious about this so she looked it up and they did it this way for “logistical reasons,” whatever that means and look, I know I should just be happy that I was able to get the damn vaccine IN THE FIRST PLACE but I am super competitive with Henry and this feels like TOTAL INJUSTICE.

When he came home that day, I was still very mad and pretended like I was going to punch him on his vaccine-spot, and that is when I noticed that not only is he going to be fully vaccinated TWO DAYS BEFORE ME, he also got a WONDER WOMAN BANDAID ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?!!? All I got was some weird circular window sticker thing!!

What a fucking week.

Apr 102021
 

Henry and I went to get plant stuff earlier today in an area that’s about 45 minutes away from us and as we drove past this one shopping center, I casually mentioned that I have never been there. Henry said that’s untrue, that we went to a Subway there once and just like that, super vivid memories came flooding back and I screamed, “OH YEAH IT WAS WHEN WE WENT TO THAT ONE WEIRD PLAYGROUND AND BLAKE AND ALISHA WERE WITH US AND THEN WE WENT TO TCBY” and Henry was like “…………………”

I distinctly remembered the pictures I took that day and found them on Flickr. They’re from August 2009 and somehow, I NEVER posted them on here, nor did I even write about the day because I guess this was back when I had a life and didn’t blog every single fucking thing I did because I had a better understanding back then of the idea that NO ONE CARES.

Well, since I have no energy for anything else right now (I expended a lot of it on the squirrels, picking out flowers, and exercising, aren’t you jealous of my full life?), here are the pictures I took that day because Summer of 2009 Chooch was so fucking cute (and sweaty) and also Blake wasn’t a dad yet which is wild and now Alisha lives in ARKANSAS and probably does not miss me making her pose for stupid pictures.

So proud of these ground apples.

Seriously though this playground has a certain type of vibe, yikes.

Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane. Maybe I should start taking out my “real” camera more often like the olden days.

And speaking of Dance Gavin Dance (see: Blake’s shirt), their singer Tilian Pearson has a new solo album out and this video is making me CRAVE A DGD CONCERT.

Apr 092021
 

I really love Easter so much and this year’s bunny day did not disappoint. The weather was perfection (in the low 60s and sunny!) and we actually all got along even though Henry’s chewing and breathing was really beyond extra that day.

First, we had to wake up Chooch and give him his “basket.” Chooch is definitely my kid, in that he is nearly 15 and still wants TOYS and FUN and all the things his little niece and nephew next door are enjoying as toddlers. We decided to fill a small basket with what Chooch claims to be the only sponges he can use to wash the dishes which is clearly just an excuse to not have to wash the dishes. I plopped in one piece of candy for good measure and then at the last minute, I added a bath bomb that he had gotten earlier that day when he was at the store with Henry (not pictured).

Of course it took us forever to get him to wake his ass up. I left the fake basket on the dining room table for him to find, totally exposed so there was no fun involved. He actually took it all in stride, and laughed a lot, so I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of the GREAT JOB Henry and I have done raising him that he didn’t act like a petulant shit when that was “all he got,” or if he’s been conditioned over the last decade to know that there was something better in store if he just rides it out—probably the latter, lol.

Then I needed to get him BACK into his room because Henry left DOLL on his computer desk with one lone Easter egg. OMG for a kid who never wants to leave his room, it was surprisingly hard to get him to go back into it! Granted, the reason I used was probably a bad one: I told him that our new Easter tradition was going to Church with Blake, Haley and the kids and that he needed to go change into something nice, which made shit hit the fan. he became INEXPLICABLY distraught at the prospect of suddenly having to go to church after all these years of living in the lap of heathenism.

Finally got him to go into his room, where he hurled himself down on his bed and proceeded to cry some more. God, this kid!! We should have kept him in Catholic school! Why did we ever pull him out? Oh right, my blog. LOLOLOL.

Anyway, I had to point out DOLL to him just to speed shit up and that set him off even more. “OMG YOU MADE ME GO THROUGH ALL OF THIS JUST SO I COULD SEE DOLL?? UGH!” and he stormed off back downstairs without even realizing that DOLL contained an Easter egg, because DUMB HENRY stuck the egg up her dress instead of just setting it in her lap like I told him to, so then I had to carry DOLL downstairs and thrust her at Chooch, who refused to take her and instead gave me this bewildered look, like “I’m used to you acting insane but you are being TRULY STRANGE this morning” so then I had to EXTRACT the egg from DOLL’s dress and chuck it at Chooch, who finally started to realize that this was an effort to make Easter fun for a surly teen. Except that now DOLL’s egg message didn’t make sense since he was supposed to open it IN HIS ROOM, but now he was in the dining room so he asked, “All of the eggs are hidden in the basement?” Ugh. This dumb scavenger hunt WAS NOT THAT COMPLICATED.

We only hid 8 eggs the night before, just on the first floor, so this hunt should have been over relatively quickly but instead my DENSE SON dragged it out for nearly an hour because he is sooooo obtuse! We were giving him all these dumb hints and he was just standing in the middle of the room, looking lost.

Although, to be fair, one of my hints was “Something you could find at the circus” and he cried THAT COULD BE LITERALLY THIS ENTIRE ROOM!

Anyway, all of the eggs contained a piece of Russian candy and a “coupon” for things like “trip to the Columbus Zoo” and “Dad takes out garbage for month of April.” (In response to that one, Henry wrote out a coupon that says “Geocaching with mom, no less than two hours!”

I hate geocaching.

After he found all of his idiotic eggs, he was sitting on the church pew (oh the irony) watching TV so I ran upstairs to get his real basket, which I’m not entirely sure he was expecting after going through the rigmarole of collecting Easter coupons.

I wish I still got an Easter basket! I am fully planning on giving Chooch an Easter basket (and any future partner/spouse he might wind up with) for the rest of my life.

Later that afternoon, we drove out to Economy Park, which we haven’t to been to in quite some time but the playground is cool because it has this big electronic game that Chooch and I always think we are obsessed with until we get there and remember that it’s broken. The road to the pavilions is closed so we had to park at the playground and walk for about a half mile (??? I’m really bad with measuring distance!), all of which was without Henry who had to go back to the car when we made it out of the parking lot because he forgot the BUNNY PLATE I bought specifically for our EASTERgayo sandwiches, so he ended up being way behind us on the walk which was hilarious to me and Chooch but probably actually super peaceful for Henry.

You might remember that I deemed these sandwiches our “new Easter tradition” two Easters ago. They are based off the Inkigayo sandwich in South Korea, which is a multi-layered sandwich served in the cafeteria to idols performing at the Inkigayo weekly music show. The idols love them so much that various convenience stores in Korea attempted to recreate them and let me tell you, we ate some v. tasty ones on our last trip! Anyway, there are several variations floating around the Internet.

Here’s my OG post about it if you’re interested!

Easter 2019: Idol Sandwiches & Crappy Woodland Treasure

After lunch, I made these lugs pose for family pictures with me. I also *tried* to coordinate our clothes so we were all wearing Easter-y pastel shades, which made Chooch happy because it meant he could wear his pink/salmon hoodie and not A DRESSY SHIRT OMG BOO HOO.

 

You guys, we got Henry to jump!!

Oh man, what a GREAT DAY, honestly. I mean, I almost threw up on a spinny thing at the playground afterward, but it was still just a wonderful holiday. I love you, Easter.

Apr 072021
 

I know there are vocab purists out there that will argue that EVE only applies to the EVENING before whatever day, but I’m going to be talking about everything that happened on Saturday, pre-Easter, that was note-worthy OH WELL!

Don’t worry, there’s not too much to talk about, haha ugh covid.

In the morning, Henry and I went to some new Russian/Turkish/Easter European market that opened in Robinson. There is one right down the street from us too but this one is brand spanking new (I just literally realized that this refers to a doctor slapping a newborn?? Wow, tons of things suddenly make sense when you’re in your 40s, I guess) and 3x the size of the one by us. ALSO THE YOUNG GUY WORKING THERE WAS SO FUCKING CUTE.

I mean, they had lots of candy! We wanted to get some additional things for Chooch’s, Calvin’s, and Lily’s Easter baskets. (Henry, the laziest grandfather of all time, hadn’t even considered getting Calvin and Lily baskets, that was all me. See? I’m OK sometimes.) Hershey’s and whatever is all well and good but I do love adding some international candy flava to the holiday mix, yanno? I don’t think Calvin and Lily care yet (they just wanted their toys), but Chooch was like, “Fuck yeah, some kind of Russian juice box, thanks Easter Bunny!”

I bought a bag of these sugary corn curls based on the packaging alone, but holy shit are these GUD.

Literally thought these were BBQ-flavored marshmallows but Henry was like, “USE YOUR BRAIN, DUMDUM THOSE ARE FOR S’MORES.”

Wow.

But I bet somewhere in South Korea, you can find BBQ-flavored marshmallows.

Speaking of Korea, this joint had a decent Lotte Choco Pie selection!

I also bought some filberts, almonds, and pecans for my Buddys and Mr. Gray Guys! They LOVE filberts. The one Buddy takes them across the street and buries them at the church. Whatever makes you happy, Buddy. (It’s actually the Buddy that let me feed him outside the other day! I can tell which one he is because he has a little smattering of tawny spots on his left side by his butt, lol. I am so fucking pathetic. Please send help. Or a friend. I need a friend. A human one.

Later that afternoon, Henry and I went for a stroll at our favorite cemetery and it was OK except that I was wearing a pair of TOMS that I got last summer and hadn’t yet broken in, in an attempt to, you know, break them in, and my one heel was sah-creem-ing. Then we went to pick up our Trinidadian vegan Easter dinner from ShadoBeni, who introduced us to the famous Doubles a few years ago at a farmer’s market and I had been obsessed ever since. How lucky Pittsburgh veg/vegans are to have this awesome guy here cookin’ up delicious meatfree Trinidad cuisine!  There was no way that I could wait an entire day to eat this so Henry prepared it that evening for a pre-Easter dinner and it was ALL SO GOOD but hoo boy, I had to roll myself away from the table afterward.

You guys. Doubles.

OH YES.

It is so messy and sloppy and spicy and ugh, just SO FILLING AND DELICIOUS!

This was after Chooch and I were like YOU ARE CHEWING SO LOUD, lol. Ah, family dinners.

Apr 062021
 

You guys. My patience and obsessive nature finally paid off yesterday. One of the Buddys let me hand-feed him! Normally, the brown squirrels (never the gray ones; they’re super skittish) will accept snacks from my hand through the window but I wanted the challenge of feeding them from outside of my house.

Two weekends ago, I was getting RULL close to success but the Buddy I had targeted kept doing the handshake-fake out on me every single time, like to the point where I expected him to run his hand paw through his hair fur.

Yesterday on my lunch break, I was sitting on the porch, trying to coax my favorite of all the Buddys to TAKE THE FUCKING PECAN when Haley came outside to water her plants. She started laughing at me because this is like A Thing now, not a secret, and I wailed, “I AM DETERMINED!”

“I mean, he’s sitting right there on the porch with you so he’s clearly not afraid of you, you’ll get it!” Haley said, in the encouraging words of a True Mom. And you know what? I took her words and ran with them and I DID INDEED GET IT!

It turns out he didn’t want a pecan – he wanted a WALNUT! Good thing I have a veritable squirrel buffet inside my house to choose from. We currently have: peanuts, walnuts, pecans, filberts, and various types of seeds. Don’t worry – I always check first to make sure what I’m feeding them is safe! For instance, not all peanuts are good for them!

Squirrel watching has really kept me going through the pandemic. Being home so much, especially WORKING FROM HOME, has been pretty depressing but these little guys are so entertaining and I don’t care what anyone says–they’re my best Buddys. Sometimes when I feed them through the window, their tails brush my hand and IT IS THE BEST FEELING I LOVE THEM SOOOOO MUCH OMG HELP ME I NEED A LIFE.

This picture cracks me up – squirrel soirée! Also, don’t mind the messy porch/yard. Henry started redoing the flower-area and true to form, he moved on to other things before finishing. (He will read this and start yelling about how IT IS TOO SOON TO PLANT FLOWERS AND HE WAS JUST GETTING IT READY blah blah OK Farmer Henry’s Almanac.)

 

Apr 042021
 

Happy Easter Sunday to those who care about that holiday! And if not, happy beautiful spring day in April!

We had a lot of quality time together as a family today (which is happening less and less the older Chooch gets – ugh, teenagers!) and I will definitely be recapping our Easter happenings soon. But first, here are some pictures I took after our Easter lunch at a playground!

Hey, it might not be cherry blossoms in South Korea, but these are still beautiful and give me HOPE THAT THINGS ARE GONNA GET BETTER.

He looks so freaking tall here and I hate it. Remember when he was *this* small on Easter??:

Petal Face.

(That’s my beloved sea-glass from Busan around my neck, FYI!)

Wish I could always use flowers as a mask! This picture was actually an accident but I kept it because I look v. srs. which was 100% not how I actually felt all day. Also, you can see my eyebrow piercing scar, which I often forget exists but this was a nice reminder and now I’m reliving that ER visit in my mind and cracking up. I think I have referenced it here once a long time ago but perhaps I will write an updated account of my eyebrow-piercing-gone-bad, because it was a Bad Idea from start to finish—lemme know if you want the story, haha. I mean, I have nothing else to blog about!

My signature dumb, unflattering pose.

Today was just really nice. Easter continues to be my second favorite holiday (behind Halloween, obv.).

Apr 032021
 

Hello to everyone on this fine Good Friday! Easter is my second favorite holiday after Halloween, not for Jesus-rising reasons, but I think mostly because Easter = spring even though it was 30 degrees here in Pittsburgh yesterday AND SNOWING, OK April. So even though I’m working dreaded Late Shift today, I’m still in pretty good spirits knowing that we have a pre-Easter Trinidadian vegan meal to pick up tomorrow, and we’ll hopefully be noshing on our now-traditional Eastergayo sandwiches on Sunday, hopefully in some lovely forest-type of setting?? HOPEFULLY? HOPEFULLY I CAN SAY HOPEFULLY MORE TIMES IN THIS POST??

(HELLO, THIS IS ERIN FROM THE NEXT DAY, STOPPING BY TO SAY THAT I DID NOT GET VERY FAR WITH THIS POST YESTERDAY SO NOW IT’S SATURDAY AND LET’S SEE WHAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH.)

  • Last Saturday morning was super nice and sunny so Henry and Blake went outside to do yardwork. At first I was like NO THANKS because I wasn’t feeling social, but then I heard Blake and Henry start to gossip so I was like DID SOMEONE SAY LASCIVIOUS THINGS WITHOUT ME? So I went outside to eavesdrop. UNFORCH, Blake’s kids were out there and immediately latched on to me because, come on, I’m the super mysterious cool girl next door. I’m pretty sure they literally have no idea who I am in relation to them, but that’s OK because I’m too young to be a grandma anyway. I mean, we were playing some fun make-believe zoo game and that was cool but I was desperate to get in on the adult convo. I may have had my own thoughts to share, depending on the subject! I AM A GROWN-UP TOO! Except that you would never know it because I am literally forever at the kids table. Then Buddy made an appearance and I was like “oooh it’s Buddy!” and got up to go play with him but Calvin was like, “No come back and play with me!” and I was like “BUT SQUIRRELS!” and yeah.
  • Speaking of Blake, he and his wife Haley had a new baby on Monday! His name is Milo. Haley’s mom was staying at their house watching Calvin and Lily, so we were all outside playing on Tuesday, waiting for them to come home (baby turnaround time is a lot quicker these days, it seems?!). I found a bunch of Chooch’s old action figures and took them outside for Calvin and Lily. One of them was a muscular man with a big shark head. Calvin kept asking me who it was and I was like “the fuck if I know” but in a more kid-friendly fashion, and then Chooch was like “I DON’T KNOW, STOP TALKING TO ME” and Haley’s mom was like, “Surely you must know, it was something you played with at some point!” but he insisted he had no idea and honestly, it might as well have been the first time seeing this damn thing for me. Then Blake and Haley came home with the baby and as Blake walked past our porch, he shouted apropos of nothing, “Ooh, Street Shark!” Of-fucking-course Blake would know.

  • Recently, one of the bigger names in the kpop pin community passed away. She was an American expat in South Korea and made some really stunning pins, and while I never had an online relationship with her, I still knew her name and was actually shocked to find out that she had died. Someone started a hashtag for her and asked everyone to post a picture of their kpop fan lightsticks last week, using the hashtag. I was honored to have a chance to contribute to this online outpouring of love and I only hope that her family and close friends were privy to this so they could see how much of an impact she had on the kpop community.
  • I’m glad that April Fool’s Day doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore.

  • Drew’s face was me after doing two noon-8:30 late shifts in a row. I don’t know why, but these late shifts really do a number on my sanity. I was blessed with two relatively quiet nights but last night, one of my co-workers asked me to help him with something at 8:27 and I was like YOU ARE SO LUCKY YOU HAVE BEEN NICE TO ME FOR THE LAST 11 YEARS.
  • This morning, Henry and I went to a new Russian/European market for some last-minute Easter basket stuff. We got Turkish cotton candy and now I am disgusted at the SHIT that we have been fed at American carnivals and circuses all this time! Um, I guess I will talk about that in a future weekend recap though.

BRB WALKING TO THE LIBRARY TO PICK UP SOME BOOOOOOOOOOOKS!!!

  • We babysat for a bit Thursday evening (it was supposed to be Henry and Chooch doing the entertaining since I was working late shift but guess who’s more fun and Calvin knows it?). Here’s a picture of Uncle Chooch being completely put-out and knowing exactly how it felt for me and Henry every time Young Chooch wanted to “play” Mouse Trap, lol, fuck that game.
  • Matt Gaetz did it.
  • I didn’t have too many side effects after my first Pfizer shot – just a mild headache and an ache at the injection site that actually got PRETTY uncomfortable later that night and hurt when I lifted my arm for most of the next day. But I am preparing for the worst after I get my second dose. I requested off work for the day of and after already so hopefully it’s approved and I can be miserable on the couch with the cats all day. I’m low-key a little scared! But thinking of having somewhat of a “normal” summer & not potentially dying from Covid is all I care about right now. I was Kakao’ing with my friend Kyoung who lives in Korea and he was asking me about how the situation is here currently and I was like, “Well, there are still a lot of people who won’t wear masks and are therefore making it worse for the rest of us normal, sensible people” and he is like, FLABBERGASTED that there are Americans who are still anti-mask and his response to that was “They can have their freedoms after corona!” EXACTLY. WHEN WILL AMERICA WAKE THE FUCK UP.
  • Henry found this timelapse he took the first time we were in Korea and only thought to send it to me last week, wow, thanks.
  • In case you guys were wondering about what I dream about now, it’s feeding squirrels and animals that either shouldn’t be in my backyard (sea otters) or don’t exist IRL (miniature gray-boxy-furry alligator things on leashes), also men dressed in unicorn onesies. (Yes, I was feeding the unicorn man, too. Carrots, if you were curious.)
  • In case you were also wondering about my current culinary quests, I recently decided that I was grown-up enough to tackle the creation of smoothie bowls on my own, unsupervised. Henry went out and bought me a ton of healthy, vegan ingredients, powders, mix-ins, etc and even bought a better blender-thingie for me to use and can you guess how many times I’ve used it since this all started two weeks ago? If you guessed any number other than zero, then 딩 동 댕! Sorry Henry, but I am just too chicken to use this damn thing! So instead, I just wait for him to come home from work and he makes me smoothie bowls for dinner. His presentation is lacking though. And the one he made me last night was brown so I thought he went the chocolate PB route but no, it was acai and pineapple?! It was so hard for me to get past the color, knowing it wasn’t chocolate! It never tasted like anything other than “brown” after that.

Well, it’s almost time for me to eat some pre-Easter Trinidadian vegan foods so I will wish you all a wonderful Easter and leave you with a picture of Penelope and Jackson Wang’s newest MV!

THE 80S VIBES WITH THIS ONE!!

Apr 012021
 

I didn’t have to log on to work until noon today so I decided that I was going to turn off my alarm and actually try to sleep in for once. But then my Boss Amber texted me at 7am and said that Spartan Pharmacy had opened up their vaccination site today for ALL RESIDENTS 16+. I was like “LOL OK, we’ll see” because Janna had also recently sent me something similar and that sucker was booked up before I could even click the link.

BUT THIS ONE WORKED!! I was able to snag an appointment for later that morning!! Screw sleeping in, I’m getting that sweet pfizzy arm cocktail, boooiiiii!!

Chooch is on Spring Break this week so I dragged him with me for moral support. I mean, he sat in the car the whole time and watched YouTube videos, but knowing that I had someone waiting for me was ENOUGH FOR ME, YOU KNOW?

The vaccination station was actually at a firehall that my ex-friend Keri had her wedding reception in back in 2003 and I kept periodically cracking up over this as I stood in line for nearly an hour, through bursts of snowfall and blustery winds. Of course the climate would revert back to winter vibes on April 1!

I was really impressed with how quickly the line moved though. There was very little “standing still,” and everyone mostly shuffled like the most lethargic zombies. Shockingly, nothing exciting or weird happened the entire time I was standing in line, which is outrageous because when have I stood in line and not been, at the very least, bothered by something??? I think also, it’s been SO LONG since I’ve stood in a line so my threshold was pretty good. In fact, I kept pretending it was training for all of the roller coasters I’m going to be standing in line for this summer!!

(Yes, I know, just because I’ll be vaccinated doesn’t mean I can go hog wild! I will still be super smart about what I do and obviously I’ll be social distancing and still wearing a mask when necessary, which doesn’t bother me one bit!)

Anyway, once I reached the entrance, I started panicking because I could hear a volunteer up ahead telling everyone to make sure they had “1 and 3” of their consent forms but mine were 2 & 3?? I was starting to sweat at this point was waiting for her to sigh and slap a clipboard against my chest so I could fill out whatever form I was missing but she looked at what I had and was like “OK YOU’RE GOOD” and then from there it was like literally being led around like cattle. “Go see Dave, he’ll photocopy your license and insurance card.”

“Go wait at that table to sign in.”

“Go stand behind that tall guy in the puffy jacket.”

“Go to the lady with her arm raised.”

(This was when I finally got my coveted jab! It literally only took the amount of time needed to shrug out of my coat, sit down, tell the lady my age because I missed that question on the form, and then BAM DONE.)

“Take this card and stand by the green sign.”

“Here’s your next appointment. Go sit down for 15 minutes. If you feel OK, you can leave.”

I was dizzy from all the directions.

And then swirly and pfizzy from The Science.

Someone there said they liked my coat too and I was like “WELL ISN’T THIS JUST THE GREATEST DAY EVER!?” I was in such a great mood, and I even had enough time to take Chooch to Sheetz before logging on

I had to stand in the weirdest pose to get this, and apologies to Marcy (RIP!) for the headshot, but it is my favorite puncture wound of all time. (Well, maybe tied with the one I’ll be getting on April 29th!)

Mar 302021
 

I ate well this past weekend and I don’t mind telling you all about it SINCE YOU ASKED. (Oh man I am craving human interaction.)

First of all! On Friday, we had the most diving “fish”-fried banana blossom po’ boys from Onion Maiden, which is SADLY going on hiatus for a bit now and I will miss them deeply. It’s crazy how we have actually been “eating out” (i.e. getting take out) more during the pandemic than ever before. We are not big diner-outers, but BECAUSE of the pandemic, we have been really trying to support our faves and in doing so, we have for sure enjoyed Onion Maiden more in the last year than we have in all the years they have been open, and no offense but my stomach is super smug about this!

Oh man, I think this was my first time having banana blossom and it was extremely satisfying. The texture and seasoning was v. similar to a real life fried fish fillet – it had that true blue Lenten taste, if you feel me.

Henry and I figured that Chooch wouldn’t like it, so he only ordered two, figuring that he would just eat Chooch’s. So I scarfed mine down within five minutes, giving Henry nary a nibble. Then Chooch ended up ACTUALLY LIKING IT so Henry ended up not getting to try it at all HAHAHA go eat a real fish sandwich, carnivore.

We made the mistake of telling Chooch what he was eating while he was still mid-sandwich and he told us later that he still thought it tasted good but knowing what he was eating “ruined” it for him. He is really the worst vegetarian. Honestly.

Not pictured, but on Saturday I had some of the vegan butternut squash ravioli I ordered from Saint Ravioli. I always see people freaking out when he has pre-orders on Instagram so this time I set an alarm for his vegan ravioli sale and it was OK. I don’t know that I would go out of my way to buy them again, because the filling didn’t like knock my kpop socks off or anything BUT the actual pasta part was v. good and fresh. So I’m not totally disappointed by any means.

Another NOT PICTURED is the black sesame matcha latte I got earlier that day from Kung Fu Tea and the matcha bun from Sumi’s – Pittsburgh is surprisingly rich with Asian delights, and I am more than happy to spend money at these places!

Henry went to one of the Asian markets Sunday morning for a produce haul because I had a baby taro craving and he came home with the best boba bars!

Tiger Milk is one of the most famous/popular boba places in the world so I was super excited to have these frozen versions in my MOUTH.

Fun fact: my friend Nate told me that when he saw this picture on Instagram, he wasn’t immediately sure if I was in my house OR AN ICE CREAM PARLOR and wow thank you Nate for the best compliment I have received so far on my chaotic interior aesthetic!

SPEAKING OF ICE CREAM…

Easter pint pick-up at Sugar Spell happened on Sunday! I managed to find restraint from deep within and only ordered three pints, but then Henry brought them home and my restraint defenestrated itself while I lunged for a spoon. As I dug into the Chocolate Peanut Sprinkle, Henry asked, “Whoa, aren’t you going to take a picture first?” because I ALWAYS take pictures of my Sugar Spell Scoops! So, please excuse the chunk taken out of the Chocolate Peanut Sprinkle, and the half-assed posing and fluffing I did but I was just REALLY excited to dig the fuck in.

The Carrot Cake was my immediate favorite but that LUSH, VELVETY chocolate base keeps me coming back to Chocolate Peanut Sprinkle, I’m so sorry.

I “balanced” all of this junk food with acai bowls, oatmeal, and salads. (Henry bought golden beets at Fresh Thyme, and those are MY FAVORITE KINDS OF BEETS!)

(Also at Fresh Thyme, I bought almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans for my squirrel friends and Henry was like THESE FUCKERS EAT BETTER THAN ME! and then proceeded to tell me how much money we spend on squirrel food, lol oops I can’t help it – they’re my ONLY FRIENDS.)

Mar 292021
 

Oh hello, there. It’s another bland Monday here in Pittsburgh! Henry’s phone just notified him of a picture he took three years ago today and as soon as he asked, “Guess what it is” I knew it was going to be from our first trip to South Korea and I immediately felt extreme sadness but also a sick need to actually see the picture and make my Hanguk yearning half past “sad boy Spotify playlist” more toward “rabbit in a pot” psycho ex-girlfriend.

I don’t make  A LICK of sense anymore but who reading this even cares?!

Anyway, the picture he showed me was from the cable car in Songdo Beach, Busan and I felt such a warm rush of nostalgia (or possibly my first ever hot flash). I’m re-sharing this because it was such a pretty day and this post deserves more love.

***

Chooch: Did you write about how I found a dead crab?

Me: No, I didn’t know you found a dead crab.

Chooch, incredulous at my oversight: Yes! And then I buried it!!

God, maybe if he would share these tales on my blog like I’ve asked him to, I would know! And so would you!

After strolling along the Songdo cliffs for an hour or so, we made it to Ansan Park where one of the cable car loading stations was located. Guys, if you are ever in Busan, I highly recommend walking one way and taking the cable cars the other way—if you don’t like hills, then maybe take the cable cars up, though! That last bit was pretty laborious. We got the best of both worlds doing it this way and it was such an enjoyable way to spend a Friday morning! In fact, I don’t even think we argued at all?!

Before we boarded the cable car, Henry had to dispute the price with the ticket lady who overcharged us. I didn’t go with him because I was afraid he’d embarrass me. Aside from that little snafu, everything went smoothly! I read reviews online that said this place was not foreigner-friendly and I have no idea what they meant because this was Tourist Central.

Henry: “NAPTIME.”

Chooch was mad because he was trying to make an Instavid and Henry was junking it up with his booming voice so Chooch had to post it without sound, lol.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg74ghEjOQv/?taken-by=butt_jam

I’m generally terrified of cable cars but goddammit this was so worth it!

That fucking Peachy Boi. Did I mention that since we were leaving that day, we checked out of the hotel before setting off for Songdo, so once again Chooch and I had our entire Korean lives strapped to our backs while Henry carried nothing. Anyway, Chooch was hand-carrying Peachy Boi because there wasn’t enough room in either of our backpacks and he made me hold him for a second when we climbing the hill to Ansan Park. I dramatically opened my hand and let Peach Boi fall to the ground and Chooch started screaming like I just kicked a Corgi and Henry was like WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING BACK THERE?!!?!?

You had to be there.

You can see the walkway over there on the left. I miss it!

Obligatory “Out Here in Busan” selfie.

FAMILY PHOTO, LOL.

We wanted to explore more of the area near Busan Tower after this, so we had to take another bus back. I was nervous that I didn’t have enough funds left on my T-Money card, and I kept panicking about it. Henry was like, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT” and for some reason, this became another Henryism that Chooch and I latched on to and we were doubled-over in an alley near Songdo Beach, crying in laughter, while Henry stormed off without us.

But guess what guys great news! I had enough funds to get on the bus.

The following portion of this blog post will be photos from our afternoon in Yongdusan Park and the surrounding areas.

You could never go hungry in Korea, guys. We are notorious for arguing over restaurants when on vacation because Chooch and I are so picky and I’m one of those people who will say things like, “It has a bad vibe” or “I didn’t like how the hostess looked at me” or “I don’t feel right in here” so then we leave and Henry is like FML and then we roam around like zombies forever looking for somewhere that meets our specific qualifications and I’m not going to lie, there have been times when we eat from a vending machine and then go to bed angry.

But in Korea, there are freaking food stalls and carts EVERYWHERE!

We ate at one of those aforementioned food stalls because I heard that Busan’s ttkeokbokki is different from Seoul’s, and it really is! The sauce is a deeper color (and supposedly spicier but like I mentioned before, I think I burnt my mouth to the point of no return because I rarely taste spice anymore unless it’s like something deadly) and the ttkeok itself is longer. I loved it! And I appreciated that the old lady who served it to me made the universal “very spicy, hot hot” motion, but I slurped those motherfuckers down like the world was going to end in 2 minutes.

Chooch had a plate of twigum (fried foods) and he was so happy because one of the options was a hardboiled egg, and this was how I learned that my son loves hardboiled eggs which I guess I would know if I spent more time in the kitchen?

That lady was so sweet!

I don’t know what Henry got. Chicken maybe?

Chooch got strawberry rolled ice cream after but I was holding out for more ssiat hotteok.

We didn’t go up into the tower but it was still fun to explore the area around it.

I posted some pictures from this area while we were on the train back to Seoul that evening.

That “sorry I never told you all I wanted to say” heart lock, though… :(

We did some last minute shopping after this (I went into The Saem with the intent of buying one Choco Pie handcream, and then, $100 later….)

It just happened that way.

They have really cute guys who stand outside of the beauty shops, holding signs, and yelling adorable things to lure you in, OK?! And the salesgirl who followed me around wasn’t just suggesting things for me, she was literally telling me what I was going to buy and I was so weak, so so so weak. JUST MAKE ME PRETTY! I’LL DO ANYTHING!

(Jeannie did say that I looked 10 years younger when I came back though, so thanks Korea!)

In line for some ssiat hotteok!

I didn’t buy these and I have regrets.

Chooch bought a knock-off Supreme shirt while we were here because apparently I was supposed to supervise his packing before we left Pittsburgh and I did not do this so he was running out of clean clothes to wear, lol.

By then it was around 4pm and we had to head back to Busan Station and catch our KTX back to Seoul.

We hung out at Pascucci Cafe so Chooch could charge his dumb phone because god forbid he couldn’t watch YouTube videos for the entire 2 and a half hour train ride!

It was a whirlwind 24 hours in Busan and I really hope to make it back someday and give it a proper tour!

Mar 282021
 

Please take 20 minutes today to listen to these Korean Americans – now living in South Korea – talk about their feelings about the rise of Anti-Asian hate crimes & the experiences they’ve had with racism and discrimination in the US.

“You can’t hug someone trying to punch you.”

I wish I had a bigger platform so I could make more of a difference. Very very very frustrated, especially at the lack of support and response from fellow Americans who need to reflect upon what it truly means to be American now more than ever. We need to add our voices to their voices to make the message impossible not to hear.

And as always: Talk to your kids!! Don’t let hate (and Trump!!!) win!!

Mar 262021
 

When I first started to listening to Kpop in 2015, I was surprised for several reasons:

  1. I don’t know what I was expecting Kpop to sound like, but my first impression was to think: “Holy shit this music is better than anything I’ve been hearing on American radio.” I was TOTALLY part of the problem, you guys. I had subconsciously written it off in my head as “lesser than” because the majority of white Americans, whether we know it or not, are programed to think this way unless presented with an opportunity to deviate from the racist norm of this damn country and come up with their own damn opinion. And as annoyed as I am when I share a Kpop MV with a work friend and they say “That’s actually good,” I can’t be too critical because I was once that person, too.
  2. There are a lot of Kpop idols who are actually Asian American. (Also: not all Kpop idols are Korean.)

In America, AAPI is invisible to the music industry. Think about it: how many Asian Americans can you name that are currently on rotation on Top 40 radio stations? Now go back several several decades and think about it. The more I started learning about Kpop and getting into different groups, I learned that the Asian American members left the US (Canada too) and moved to South Korea in an effort to have a better chance at a music career. And these artists, you guys, they have more talent than most of the shit we are being forcefed in car commercials, the grocery store aisles, etc.

Imagine, as a kid, knowing that you were born with this beautiful voice, or the body to dance like no other, and realizing at a certain point that your odds of breaking into the US whitebread market are pretty abysmal. So now you have to leave your family and home behind and move across the world to South Korea in hopes of building a career off your natural talent.

Imagine that.

When I first got into BIGBANG and realized how huge they are around the rest of the world, I was naively shocked that I had never heard of them before, and also perplexed at how they hadn’t managed to crossover to the US market like Psy had (btw Psy is not a one-hit wonder, and I always have to laugh when people here think that Gangnam Style was just some gimmicky one-off – Psy is insanely popular everywhere else and has his own label now). And when BTS’s ambitious fans aggressively pushed them into the ears of America, I was really excited at first but then realized, “Wait, this is America, this could be bad” and sure enough – the racists proved me right. The comments I’ve seen on articles or Instagram posts about them have been heartbreaking, infuriating, and just plain disgusting.

I was having a conversation once at work with my friend Regina about BTS, and when I said that they aren’t even the best Kpop group, just the ones who got lucky enough to make it big, she was like,  “I wonder why it hasn’t happened to more groups yet.” I looked her dead in the eye and said, “Because America only has room for one.”

So today, I want to put the spotlight on some of my favorite Asian American singers who deserve so much more recognition here in the US and I am BEGGING you to listen to at least one or two, please, show your support to these hardworking and talented people!!

  1. Jessi

Born in New York, Jessi is so goddamn badass. Not only is her music fierce, but her personality is HUGE! Henry and I love watching her on Korean TV shows, making everyone uncomfortable, lol

Why isn’t this on the radio here?

2. Amber Liu

Amber is probably my favorite from this list. Once a member of the beloved SM group f(x), she is now back in LA pursuing a solo career and we NEED TO SUPPORT HER. The CRJ vibes in this one, tho:

And if you’re looking for something to add to your Peloton playlist, this is one of her older solo songs, when she was still in Korea:

I believe f(x) was actually the first Kpop group to ever perform at SXSW, which is a fun Amber-related fact. (Yes – it was in 2013!)

3. Bobby

Bobby is a Korean rapper from Virginia. He moved to South Korea, won a bunch of music survival shows, and went on to become one of the most prominent rappers in the scene. He’s currently the rapper in Ikon, but he has some solo stuff as well:

I also want to include this track he did several year ago with a side project of his and Song Mino’s:

4. Eric Nam

Eric is from Atlanta, and before we get into his music, I want to leave you with a link to the Op Ed piece he wrote for Time in the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings. 

This is SUCH AN ICONIC SPRING JAM FOR ME.

5. Tiffany Young

Tiffany was born and raised in California and moved to Seoul as a teenager to become a trainee at SM, where she subsequently became a member of one of THE MOST LEGENDARY KPOP GIRL GROUPS IN THE WORLD: Girl’s Generation. She opted to not renew her contract a few years ago and has since been working on her US solo career.

Every time I hear this song, I mourn the fact that it wasn’t around in the 80s for me to request at my rollerskating birthday parties:

You know what guys? Fuck Friday 5! Here are some more!

6. Ailee

HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS GIRL’S VOICE COULD BE A WEAPON. Every time I listen to her, I lament the fact that she’s not rubbing elbows with Beyonce at the top of the charts. How!? This is a travesty.

I’m posting this but I can’t watch it because this song is from my favorite Korean drama, Goblin, and just hearing the opening notes guts me, but this is an excellent example of Ailee’s live vocals:

But yeah, keep putting Taylor Swift at the top, America.

7. Henry Lau

Henry is actually Canadian-born but I’m including him here because he’s Henry and this list would be remiss without him because he is a DELIGHT and also a classically trained violinist.

^^^^ This is from another FANTASTIC Korean drama: While You Were Sleeping, and now I’m crying lololol.

My Henry also loves Henry, lol.

8. Chungha

Chungha is another bonus/exception because she was born in South Korea and then spent a chunk of her childhood in Texas. But when she decided she wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, she moved back to South Korea. America, we could have had this:

You guys know she’s one of my faves so I had to fit her into this list!!

****

I know that sharing some music videos isn’t revolutionary or a game-changer in the grand scheme of things, but I really am trying to keep this #StopAsianHate conversation going. I’m saddened at how little I have been seeing across my social media on this topic. Where are all the white allies?! White influencers have also been suspiciously quiet (but you go ahead and post those photos of your Starbucks match latte!).

I hope that you will take some time to watch some of these. Maybe you will find something you like! It’s beyond time for the American music industry to start being more inclusive. I personally have had enough of Halsey and all the other girl singers that do that weird fake baby vocal fry. Let’s make room for the Ambers and Ailees of the world, thank you.

(I am also donating 100% of March sales over at Hello Hanguk to AAPI organizations, and Henry and I also signed up for a Bystander Intervention training webinar. There is so much more work to be done, so much more education we need to seek out, and so much more self-reflecting that we can do. Don’t be ashamed to admit that you need to work on adjusting the lens in which you see others, because I definitely have a long ways to go! I can’t, as a white person, sit here and say that I am 100% perfect because I clearly am discovering hidden biases within myself that I never knew existed until it had the opportunity to be exposed. (Case in point: my “shock” that Kpop music was “actually good.”)